When COVID-19 started in Wuhan in China and Beijing did not immediately share the information for some months and WHO also did not raise an alarm, as alleged, in not warning the world about the impending disaster, no one thought that the virus would shake the world to the extent that it has done now
When COVID-19 started in Wuhan in China and Beijing did not immediately share the information for some months and WHO also did not raise an alarm, as alleged, in not warning the world about the impending disaster, no one thought that the virus would shake the world to the extent that it has done now.
When it was finally known that COVID-19 virus was spreading fast all over the world, many experts opined that India could be one of the worst-hit countries, in view of its large population and high density of the population compared to other countries.
At present, the global COVID-19 tally stands over 43 million cases and about 1.1 million deaths. Europe has so far reported over 7.8 million total cases and about 247,000 deaths. Europe as a region is now reporting more daily cases than India, Brazil, and the US combined.
Data for selected countries :
* Figures for China have not considered due to lack of transparency in the country and only official figures are available and there is no way of counter checking it by an independent agency.
The above figures highlight the fact India has the highest density of population, considering its land area, which is less compared to some other countries such as China, Brazil, Canada, USA, Russia.
Modi should be credited for India's covid management
The success or otherwise of COVID-19 management should be seen not by the number of people affected but by the number of deaths reported amongst the affected people.
From the above figures, it can be clearly seen that the Government of India under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has managed the COVID-19 crisis reasonably well, compared to several other developed countries, as the number of deaths in India has been only around 1.5 percent of the total number of cases and the recovery is around 90 percent, which is much better than the world figures.
In a situation where the cause, effect, and remedy for COVID-19 are still a matter of discussions and speculation and the vaccine is yet to be developed and proven and produced on a mass scale to handle such a high-density population with around 25 percent of the people still living below the poverty line, the Modi government’s performance in managing the crisis should be recognized and considered as a vindication of the reasonably efficient management of the COVID-19 crisis.
While the above figures are revealing, the striking aspect is that unlike other countries like the USA or Brazil or even some European countries, a very large section of people in India have not complained about any lacuna in managing the COVID-19 crisis and have reacted to situations with understanding and maturity.
While some migrants complained about the lack of transport to go to their native place, the Modi government responded to their problem as fast as possible in the given circumstances. Most of the people have not accused Modi of “mismanaging” the COVID 19 crisis. Of course, very few people have criticized Modi’s leadership but such critics are not neutral people but belong to opposition parties and some sworn critics, who need to blame Modi for their own political survival.
Taking people into confidence
The essence of the Modi government’s management of the crisis is that Modi has been continuously communicating with the people by addressing the nation at regular intervals and reassuring the citizens. He has been meaningfully coordinating with the Chief Ministers of state governments and taking them into confidence about the strategies and ground realities. He has not imposed his views on the state governments but has only given broad guidelines and left it to the state governments to manage the situation as they deem fit based on the prevailing conditions in each state.
When Modi asked the countrymen to applaud the doctors and paramedical staff for their commitment in handling the COVID-19 crisis by clapping for a few minutes and when he asked the countrymen to switch off the lights and have candle lights for a few minutes as a mark of solidarity to fight against the COVID-19, the countrymen responded with great enthusiasm, which is a very rare occasion for people responding to the call of the leadership spontaneously.
Further, when Modi wanted people to wear masks and observe social distancing, there was no protest from the people unlike other countries like the USA and a number of countries in Europe. It is quite true that some people did not observe the guidelines strictly but it was more due to indiscipline rather than due to protest against the guidelines issued by the Prime Minister.
In a democratic country like India (some people even call it a chaotic democracy) where people do not hesitate to conduct protest marches even for trivial reasons, it is extraordinary that Prime Minister Modi could manage this potentially explosive situation, without giving room for unrest and turmoil. All this despite the fact that millions of people have lost jobs due to prolonged lockdown and people below the poverty line were worst affected.
All said and done, for managing the COVID-19 crisis, the country reposed great faith in Modi’s administrative capability and personal commitment to the cause. This is one primary reason for Modi's success in dealing with the crisis situation.
Certainly, Modi has managed the COVID-19 crisis in the best possible manner under the given circumstances. Modi’s handling of the COVID 19 crisis is likely to become a case study for management students all over the world when the crisis would end one day.
(The writer is a Trustee, NGO Nandini Voice for the Deprived, Chennai. The views expressed are personal. He can be contacted at email@example.com)